Alexandria, VA

As Alexandria struggles with affordable daycare, a new facility is in the works near the Fairlington neighborhood.

A special use permit has been filed for Our First Step Daycare Center, a new daycare center planned for 2500 N. Van Dorn Street. The facility is planned by Liz Villa, who currently runs Little Rising Stars Daycare Center in Falls Church.

No pricing has been established for the Alexandria location, but Villa said the Falls Church facility charges $350 per week, which includes meals, sign language and Zumba classes.

Villa said the Alexandria facility will offer a bilingual program with a play-based curriculum. The program, she said, will be more structured than the Falls Church one, requiring a prepared and credentialed staff.

“I see there are a lot of schools around here that focus on one method of teaching, but not every kid learns the same way,” Villa said. “We have to be open to different learning styles.”

Villa said she started running the daycare program as an in-home facility to care for two of her own kids. Now with her oldest child aging out of the Falls Church program age range, Villa said the program in Alexandria will aim at a pre-school level.

“One thing I’ve learned is about being sympathetic to the parents,” Villa said. “I’ve never experienced dropping off my children at a center with strangers, so throughout the years, I’ve learned to be sympathetic to that.”

Our First Step Daycare Center is planned to have a capacity of 50 children, but Villa said she doesn’t expect to build to that until a few years down the road.

Next month, Villa said the proposed daycare will be going to the City Council to secure the permit.

Photo courtesy Liz Villa

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